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Open Communication

“Then Moses said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do, so that that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Leviticus 9:6

Holy God, it amazes me that you, in your infinite and powerful ways wants to talk to me.  That the God of the universe wants me to come to you each and every day with my needs and my fears.  Today I come to you with praise and thanksgiving that you love me so much.  Amen

I heard a description of an early  “church service” the other day.  The first half was open to anyone and featured scripture reading and the teaching of the gospel.  Then the pastor would call out, “the doors, the doors” and it was the message to those who were not baptized or confessed believers to leave.  The doors would then be closed and the second half of the service commenced.  This is when the holy gift of communicating with God began.  The church membership would have an “upper room” type meeting with breaking of bread and prayer to the Most Holy One.

What I like about this is that shows reverence to the second greatest blessing God bestowed on us (the first being Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins) – a loving, two-way path communicating with God.  A gift given to believers by Jesus and spurred on by the Holy Spirit that lives in the children of God.  I’m not suggesting only believers should pray, it’s just an acknowledgement of the seriousness of this gift we’ve been given.

In the Bible verse today, we see the seeds of God’s desire to communicate with us in the priestly ministry of the ancients.  God spoke through Moses on how to address Him through sacrifices and other holy activities.  He tells the priests in training that when they take these steps, they will see God’s glory revealed to them.  The same is true with the gift of prayer.  

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

The disciples, just as in Moses’ day, desired to learn how to communicate with God.  How to open up the heavens so they could see the glory of the One Almighty.  And so Jesus taught them the prayer I mentioned yesterday, what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.”  It starts with reverence, placing God in our hearts and minds rightly where He belongs.  It moves on to acknowledging God as the provider of all our needs and our submission to Him.  We then ask for forgiveness and to forgive others.  And finally for daily guidance.

The gift of prayer is God’s message to us that we are not believers of a god who is unable to do all things, or a god who can’t be trusted, or a god to whom we need to beg to hear us.  Before we pray we need to be fully informed of how we view Him.  If we don’t believe He is merciful then we might believe He will punish us if we bring our sins to Him.  Our prayers should always include a request for wisdom about Him so that when He answers our prayer – which He always does – we will understand the answer and see the glory in His ways.

Today, I want to leave you with this beautiful prayer from King David showing us how to glorify and praise God in all His magnificent ways.

Psalm 63

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Faith, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

A Promised Foundation

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;

    he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.

He will be the sure foundation for your times,

    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;

    the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Isaiah 33:5-6

I don’t know about you but I sure can use some stability this year.  As a child my life, viewed from the outside, looked very stable.  My parents were married, we had a nice home, two kids, dogs, cats, a little garden in the backyard.  I was a Girl Scout and did well in school.  And I felt so alone.  

I blamed all my family problems on moving from the Los Angeles area down to San Diego when I was in 4thgrade.  Everything seemed to change.  My mom was extremely unhappy and angry so often and my father rarely spoke.  My brother was fast approaching a time when the hidden timebomb of a manic-depressive disorder would take over his life.  My parents weren’t what you might call a “team.”  Having the benefit of hindsight, I realize now it had nothing to do with the move and everything to do with a lack of a solid rock within our family unit.

Not being raised in a Christian (or any faith) environment I found myself searching for stability through my parents and then friends and boyfriends.  As my mother’s own mental health issues began coinciding with my brother’s, the atmosphere around my house became so volatile so I searched for peace and love through insecure friendships and lopsided romantic relationships.  This led to competitive relationships and risky sexual behavior.   All the while I longed for a firm foundation to set my hopes, my fears, and my need to find joy.

Thankfully, through God and a wonderful husband, I have found that “sure foundation,” as written by the prophet Isaiah.  The promise God makes in this passage is that He is our solid rock, He is the stability for which we all yearn.  He is the same today as he was yesterday.  And He will be the same tomorrow.  There’s no rug pulled out from under us.  There’s no switching of loyalties.  There’s no character flaw that suddenly comes to light and bites us.  He is perfect.  He is solid.  He is the “rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.”

Lest we miss the agreement part of this promise let me remind you of the last sentence of Isaiah 33:5-6: “The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”  There’s that other half of the covenant.  Our part in this relationship requires us to exalt God and respect His place in the universe.  He is God and we are not.  And when we try to place others above Him, they will surely crumble, at some point. 

I was reading today about an astronaut’s “lifeline.”  NASA (the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) considers there to be two lifeline systems for astronauts:

“From lift off through landing, the astronauts aboard the Shuttle along with the thousands of people supporting the flight on Earth depend on NASA’s team of experts to manage this complex communication system. Maintaining good communications is critical.  The lifeline is comprised of two systems – a ground-based network composed of communication stations, and a space network operating orbiting satellites. As the Shuttle orbits the Earth, the NASA team monitors and continually adjusts the communication pathways to ensure that command, tracking, telemetry, video, and voice communications are clear and secure. “

I like that visual – a large team of incredibly talented people making sure our astronauts in space are able to accomplish their mission goals and come home safely.  As Christians we have our own talented team that makes up our solid rock – God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
You believe in God; believe also in me.
John 14:1

When we live in constant communication with our Holy team, they can continually monitor our progress, provide a firm foundation, and keep us on the right track – completing the mission and bringing us safely home.